I say “new truth” but it’s really been creeping up on us for a while. First, companies got rid of pensions…then workers moved away from being “lifers” at companies…then it became common—if not necessary—to change jobs every three to five years…
And then: Boom. COVID-19 and the ensuing recession. Industries (Restaurants! Travel! In-store shopping! Education and childcare!) and businesses that had seemed like dependable mainstays were suddenly, well, not so dependable.
A worker in the 1970s or 1980s might have thought, “Well geez, if you can’t depend on your job, what CAN you depend on?”
Well, you already know that I strongly advocate that you are safest when YOU are in control of your career and your income and that any “safety” or “dependability” offered by full-time jobs are illusory.
But what we’re facing today is the evolution of both the way we work AND the evolution of the economy as a whole.
Very simply put: Every person needs a skill they can do as a freelancer.
Now, I’m NOT saying that everyone needs to become a freelancer. There are plenty of benefits to working on-staff for companies.
But, as we have clearly seen, things can go wrong very suddenly and businesses and jobs that once seemed “safe” can disappear virtually overnight. We’ve also seen that unemployment benefits often don’t cut it or are difficult to access when masses of other people are also trying to access them.
People need to have a skill that they can fall back on when times get tough AND a proven plan and system for finding and landing clients.
This is not negotiable anymore.
I used to say that you needed “Eff You” money (wink wink) in the bank in case you were ever in a scenario when you really needed or wanted to walk away from your job. And while I still do advocate that, before you even get that cash in the bank, you need to have a set of skills to protect you if you HAVE to leave a job—or if the job leaves you. You need a parachute skill.
Now, this could be a skill that you do full-time at your job. Or this could be something totally different that you do as a side hustle in the evenings or on the weekends every once in a while.
It doesn’t even have to be something you’re working at all that often! But the keys are that you KNOW how to do it (you’ve taken the time to learn and practice the skill) and you have to have a proven system for prospecting for, contacting, and landing clients that you can flip on when or if you need more income.
As you know, I’m still a working copywriter—I still do client work nearly every day. I’ve scaled back on my copywriting, though, since I’m building this business and since my team and I are scaling this and a few upcoming brands.
BUT, if something went terribly wrong and this business and my company disappeared overnight, I could wake up tomorrow and put into play the prospecting and pitching system that we teach our students without missing a beat.
All of this might sound a bit pessimistic or negative—“Nobody’s going to take care of you but you!”—but I’d really encourage you to look at all of this information as a positive thing. Now, more than ever before, we all have the opportunity to protect ourselves, protect our incomes, and protect our lifestyles.
Will learning a new skill and learning a new system take some time that maybe some evenings you’d rather spend on Netflix? Of course. But I can 1,000% guarantee that the minute you find yourself faced with extra expenses or, worst-case scenario, no full-time source of income, you’ll be glad you did it.
It used to be that success came from putting in that little extra bit of effort and getting outside of your comfort zone. And while that’s still true, it’s now the case that just STABILITY requires the same things of us.
But you know what? That’s great—because what’s a life without growth and development, anyway?
Even if you’re in a full-time job right now (one that “feels” stable), I’d encourage you to think carefully about what skills you have or what skills you need to ensure that you can take care of yourself and your family no matter what happens with that job or with the economy. You’ll be glad you took the time now.
Your turn! What have been your big takeaways from the turn the economy (and, well, the world!) has taken? Are you open to viewing it as an opportunity? Let me know in the comments below.